How To Be Funny Under Pressure

Hello, my lovelies!

Welcome to the first installment of Ask Me Anything week!

This question comes from Kimberly, who had a question about The 200% Branding Solution. (Interestingly, The 200% Branding Solution got the highest response of any email I've ever sent. Thanks, everybody!) So if you haven't read it yet, go read it so you'll know what we're talking about. I made a collage, which alone is a good reason to take a look.

On with Kimberly's question!

“Just wanted to send a quick note and say that this is the MOST CLEAR EXAMPLE OF BRANDING I have ever read. This finally did it – finally made me get it. I've read reams about branding, and this series this week has finally un-confused me.

The number one thing people say about me regularly is that I'm funny. BUT….I do not want to have to be funny on demand! Or on the regular! It's a lot of pressure. So the idea of being 200% funny is…..daunting. I'm funny when I'm relaxed. I'm not usually relaxed in business/marketing situations so…………….. I could use some insight.

Anyhow, wanted to thank you for this!”

– Kimberly S.

Kimberly, thank you so much for writing in and giving such lovely feedback. (Can I persuade you to let me steal that paragraph to put it on my newsletter page? Because… wow!)

Now, re: funny.

That IS a tough one. I get “funny” a lot, too, and I find it's an INSANE amount of pressure. I actually had a lot of difficulty with that with this email series. The “holy shit” piece was easy, the branding one was easy, the raising rates one was okay, but by the time I got to #4, I felt like I had no funny left.

If it's of any value to you, I'll tell you what I tell myself. You know, when I have to write something… but I'm not feeling the funny… but I have to feel the funny… and ideally lots of it… and ideally NOW.

First, I let myself lower my standards. I let myself be funny 1 in 3 times, or if I'm on a roll, 1 in 2. I tell myself that as long as I'm funny frequently, I don't have to be funny always. Keep in mind that most people aren't ever funny at all. If you're a little funny every third blog post? You'll be a laugh riot.

Second, I remind myself that people find different things funny. In this series, I found the last piece to be my least funny, but I still got an email from someone who said she almost peed herself when she got to the part where I said “bobbly things”. I was COMPLETELY reaching with that line, but someone almost peed? Hey, I'll take it.

Third, and this is probably the most important, we have to figure out why we're not relaxed in marketing situations. That's the root of it. Because if you can be relaxed, you can be funny enough, and that's enough.

I mean, that's hardly a magic pill, I know. You could have ninetuplets all about to enter college, with $400,000 worth of medical debt. Maybe it's a little tricky to relax come promotion time. But, from an insight perspective, that's what I'd say. Get to the root of why you can't relax, and the problem will largely solve itself.

A few other tips:

Read more funny people and/or watch funny shows. Back in the day, I read and the Blogess to get me in a funny state of mind. Now I like the Mindy Project, or the Office, or Arrested Development.

I like all of those because they're not just funny, they're consistent. A consistent flavor of humor, week in and week out, is an excellent study in branding. So getting immersed in something YOU find all-the-time funny to get you in the mood.

Sometimes one episode will get the juices flowing. If so, great. If not, watch more. Watch it till you're cracking jokes. Watch it till even the people who know you best are laughing more than usual. THEN write. It's a time investment, but it shows in the final product.

If you find it hard to relax on marketing topics, I have two recommendations.

1.) Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development. There is nobody funnier than Michael. I would hate him with jealousy if I didn't love him so much. Everyone should read Michael Katz. Your mother should read Michael Katz. Your priest should read Michael Katz.

2.) If you want to see somebody marketing without getting all hung up about it, I recommend Mystic Medusa. She's an astrologer, and she's VERY branded, but if you watch her when it's time to sell something, you'll see someone as relaxed as it gets.

When I market for clients, I consider what would be best for their brand. When I market for myself, I run everything through the Mystic test. Because I love her straightforward, zen, unselfconscious approach. Would Mystic say this? Yes? It's good to go.

So that's what I've got. Here's the answer, in a tweet.

Drop your standards. Different people are different. Figure out why you're not relaxing. And consume funny shit.

Thanks for your question, Kimberly. And good luck!


Stay tuned for the next edition of Ask Me Anything week. (And if you're not on the newsletter, hop on it right over here and I'll keep you updated.)